Today is finally the day the new Union South opens. At 11am, a large terrace chair will be moved from Memorial Union to the new Union South to symbolize the connecting of the two buildings and mark Union South as officially open to students, union members and their guests. There are events happening all day, and all weekend at the new union. For more information on events visit the Grand Opening website.
To help celebrate the opening of Union South, we thought we would take a trip down memory lane and look at the old Union South with the help of our Badger Yearbooks collection. The first Union South was opened in 1971 at the same spot the new union is now. Union South has always offered students a different atmosphere then Memorial Union, and this new one has many of the same features.
In the 1975 Badger Yearbook, they had this article on the two unions. The article says Union South is especially for students "on the other side of campus" or for those who had classes past the railroad tracks. At this union students could play video games, pool, table tennis, go bowling and hang out at the Snack Bar.
One tradition that always took place at Union South was Fasching. Fasching was the beer drinking festival that students looked forward to just before Ash Wednesday. Students could travel between both unions on buses to celebrate. There was polka music and lots of beer. Fasching brought lots of great entertainers to the union and the students were treated with free sauerkraut, brats and cheese.
This all sounds wonderfully Wisconsin to me. Maybe in the next few years we will see some of these traditions come back to the unions. For now, everyone should try and make it to some of the Union South Grand Opening celebrations.
Welcome, Union South, we cannot wait to make more memories with you.